In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month and emphasizing the importance of being prepared for a professional world, LaGuardia Community College (LAGCC) welcomed Angie Cruz on October 31st in the E-building’s Poolside Café. Ms. Cruz, who previously visited the campus in 2017, is an Associate Professor at the University of Pittsburgh, writer of short stories and […]
My blinking increases as I try to hold back my tears from escaping. I’m staring at the floor as my therapist is looking at me, waiting for me to answer her question. Her voice startles me as she begins to speak again. “Yvette? Are you okay? Tell me what’s been going on in your life.” I raise my head, staring at her, then staring at the clock as I clear my throat and start to speak.
I began therapy three years ago during a time when I felt like I didn’t want to go, but I needed someone I could talk to, someone I could trust, and someone who could keep a secret. Long before therapy, before meeting my child’s father and my mom’s passing, I knew I was going to suffer from PTSD because of my home environment. I was only 9 years old when my mother told me my dad had hit her. I still remember that day like it was yesterday, hearing my mother cry in the bathroom and my parents arguing. Since my mom wasn’t allowed to use her phone, I was the lookout while he was in the shower as my mom texted her sister, pleading for help. As strong as my mom was, I knew she was afraid and so was I. I know I was only nine at the time, but I wish I could’ve done more to protect my mother, to keep her safe.
A couple of years after, everything in my life was going great. I had just turned 13 and my mom had just given birth to my baby brother. My parent’s relationship became stronger and better. My dad asked my mom for her hand in marriage, and of course, my mom said, yes! My mom was excited to finally have her dream wedding. I remember being in the living room and watching her mouth move as she was talking on the phone, asking her sisters their sizes while holding my brother in her arms. After feeling sleepy, I went upstairs but for some strange reason I couldn’t sleep. I kept going downstairs and talking to my mom and watching her look at wedding dresses until she finally went upstairs. After my mom put my baby brother in the crib, she laid down and turned on the TV. Out of nowhere, she became ill and told my older brother and me to call our dad, who wasn’t home at the time. My dad came home and made my mom tea and she started feeling slightly better, so my brother and I went back to bed. Then, my dad starts screaming, “BABE, BABE, SOMEONE CALL 911.” I heard my mom having a seizure. I got up and called 911 right away, and they arrived a few minutes after. My mom left on a stretcher. We followed the ambulance to the hospital, but when we went to see her, it was too late, she had passed away. I felt so numb; I wanted to break down. I kissed her forehead and told her I loved her and waited outside.
I went through major depression after losing my mother, and I didn’t want to eat anything or even get out of bed. I just wanted to sleep and see her in my dreams again. Time doesn’t heal all wounds. I thought it did, but I lost my mother eight years ago, and the wound is still fresh. Three years after losing my mother, I felt alone and didn’t have anyone to talk to except for my siblings and a few friends. I was in my sophomore year of high school when I met my child’s father. At the time I was vulnerable and needy, and I fell in love with him too fast. It was delightful in the beginning to get those “good morning princess” texts, having him come see me at school and giving me a heart-shaped box filled with chocolates and a flower. I felt special. It became my fault when I had sex with him after only knowing him for two months, and it became my fault when I got pregnant at 16.
Once I found out I was pregnant, I didn’t tell anyone. No one knew. Not my dad, not my siblings, not my friends, no one. My son’s father didn’t care that I was pregnant; it was better for him that I was because he could have sex with me without protection as many times as he wanted. In his words, “you can’t get pregnant while you’re pregnant.” It never occurred to him that we were both 16, broke, and expecting a baby. I was seven months pregnant when my dad finally found out, and then my whole family knew. I felt like a disappointment. I was extremely selfish too, praying for a miscarriage because I didn’t want to be a mother at such a young age. I told my dad that I wanted to put my son up for adoption, but he was against it at. First, I was upset, but now I understand. My child’s father wasn’t brave enough to tell his parents the truth; he wasn’t brave enough to be there for our child. Instead, he wanted to be there for his girlfriend. He cheated on my while I was pregnant with our child. I was disrespected and lied to. I was heartbroken. Instead of understanding the situation, his girlfriend would rather play along with him, mocking me and telling me that she’s better than me.
I fell in love with a narcissist and the emotional abuse from that relationship took a toll on me. I wanted vengeance; I wanted them to feel my pain because it wasn’t fair to me that I had to take care of our baby on my own while he was spending time with her. I made it though. I made it out of that dark place, and I’m in a place now where the sun always shines. I know I’m not perfect, I know I’m going to continue dealing with my PTSD, and maybe I need to go back to therapy. Therapy is not a bad thing, and it’s not for “crazy people,” it’s for people like us who are survivors. For those who can’t afford therapy, please understand that’s there’s always someone willing to listen. I am not afraid to admit that I have a mental health disorder and I was addicted to sex because it was my escape mechanism. I am not scared to admit that I’ve fallen, stumbled a couple of times down this long journey, but I’ve always gotten back up. A couple of years ago, I hated looking in the mirror–I didn’t like what I saw. Now when I look at myself I’m proud; I know I have a long way to go but I’ve survived, and for everyone reading this, you have so much to be proud of. Don’t let anyone dim your light.